The Iron Throne: Game of Thrones Is Finished. No Spoilers.

I watched the final episode of the whole Game of Thrones series.

I like it quite a bit, though the two final (short) seasons 7 and 8 felt rushed. I am aware that this is not necessarily the fault of the show runners. While they had got an outline of the books not (yet) written they did not have as much material to work with, and they probably miss several things that have been in George R.R. Matin’s head.

The missing part may also be due to the compression of the seasons made necessary by the decision makers at HBO.

Seasons 7 and 8 felt uneven from episode to episode, although the finale did tie up a lot of story lines, and was satisfactory to me. It even tied up something that several people were complaining about in the penultimate episode.

I like who ended up sitting on the throne (no spoilers). I did not quite see this coming, but it made sense to me. To me it was a bitter-sweet ending for most characters, which is much like real life can be.

I rate the final episode 9/10.

I may be back with more later, but that will be spoiler filled.

The Hugo Awards, Voting Has Started.

The voting for the Hugo awards (for those few who might not know: The annual fan award for the World Convention for Science Fiction) has started.
Also, I have a ton of Hugo Award material to go through before I can vote on – well – some of it. The Voter Package was made available today, and I downloaded it. Several GB, including graphic stories, images and podcasts. I am sure I cannot read/see all of it, but I will see/read some and vote accordingly.

SfifiCon, a One Day, Mainly Star Wars Con in Randers, Denmark.

Here is a report on a one-day con I attended in Denmark. I will resume my report on the Sense8Con 2 shortly.

On Saturday 13. April I went to a local con in the town of Randers.
The main theme of the con was Star Wars, but I did manage to find a few book related sellers. Nice to see that in an otherwise media related and merchandise related com.
I did meet a few old scifi friends and had nice chats wit them.
The highlight for me was a presentation by Nicholas Barbano and Mogens Høeghsberg on the development of the music of Star Wars which gave a bit of scifi film music history, and its changing style through the times, from a more classical music style at the early stage to a period with eerie electronic music, then partly thanks to John Williams, back to the symphonic/classical music style so well known from the music of Star Wars and much other science fiction films and TV.
The other part is, of course, meeting new nerdy friends and exchanging recommendations. I met quite a few people who had never heard of Sense8, so I gave them a briefing on what I think of it, so they could decide whether it is for them.

Near the end of the con I had a longer talk with Chris, who is sometimes stationed in remote places for weeks, and always brought material to watch, and he was running out of new (for him) stuff to watch. He was familiar with the first season of Babylon 5, and when I told him that it got better he decided that it was probably a good idea to add this to his watch list. Mentioning the creators of Sense8 and making a bit of a pitch for it, probably means that this goes on his watch list, too.
A very pleasant day.

Sense8Con 2 Part 2: Day one, Saturday

It started at breakfast. I was invited to a table with some fans, and there I met Birgit, the only other Danish Sense8 fan at the convention, at least as far as I know.
I am terrible with recalling names, so forgive me if I do not give all the correct names of many other people at the con.
First on the official program was the Welcoming Party which was essentially a welcoming panel. All guests were there, and gave a short introduction, plus we had some games of, e.g. guessing quotes.
Right behind me were two young women coming there from Dubai. I had a nice chat with them until the guests arrived.
All the guests looked very happy to be with the fans, and while some were much like their characters, others were completely different. Michael Sommers has much of the wonder and liveliness of Bug, while Sandra Fish is very different from the character of Janet. Tina Desai was more fun than I would have expected from seeing the character on screen.
After a short break we had the autograph session (actually two sessions). All of the guests took time to speak with every fan who wanted to. They looked like they were having a good time. My ticket included the 4 main guests, but I purchased one for the bonus guest, too. I am glad I added an autograph purchase for the bonus guest (Sandra), because the line she had was very short, sometimes non-existent.

In between the two autograph sessions we had a panel (Q&A) with Sandra Fish
She was very kind, very unlike the character she plays, but she loves playing “unpopular” characters, Nomi’s mother Janet. Someone who hates losing control over her life.
She was telling us that in order to create the character she felt the need to get to know and love the character, as I understand many actors do.
Sandra told us about her work with prisoners who would die imprisoned, and how the ones helped still continue the work with others in the same situation. Very touching.
During the second autograph section of the day it was time to meet more fans outside the panels.
I was introduced to several, but the trouble was recalling all the names. Here are a few:

German fan Ursula who was active in the campaign to revive Sense8 after the canceling of the show at the second season. She has also attended Fedcon in Germany, and I am sure that I have seen her asking questions at panels there, too.
Matteo from Italy, a very enthusiastic fan (well, I should say that anyone coming to a convention dedicated to one story should be).
Derek from Scotland who, at the first Sense8con earned the nickname The Old Man of Hoy, due to his Scottish accent.
Crystal from Colorado, USA.
Manu, a German teacher living in The Netherlands. She had actually taught German to a number of my colleagues I had when I worked there.

After the lunch break, more panels.
Brian J. Smith told us about him being the only member of his family in Texas who voted differently in the elections. He loves his family despite that difference.
He talked about how he does not like violence, and how he had to learn how to fight physically, OK, choreographed fights, but techniques to make it look more realistic.
How he went out with police to get a sense of how real police work is done, again in order to act in a more realistic way.
Seeing and listening to Erendira Ibarra really gave the impression of a lot of the actress being in the character.
She also talked about living in abuse, and how she initially thought that this was a Mexican cultural problem, but that the #metoo action recently taught her that it is a much more common problem for women all over the world.
Michael Sommers is a fun guy to see on stage on Saturday he did a flash preview of his one-man-show that he did recently. He was asked if he would do some more, and promised that he would on Sunday.

There is a lot of Michael in the character of Bug, especially his body language and his use of language.
Last panel of the day was with Tina Desai. Despite having a bit of trouble hearing everything she said in her very fast and somewhat accented speech, it was quite a pleasure to attend this panel.
When asked about Indian culture she immediately asked, from which of the many states in India. The country has a lot of cultural differences and dozens of languages spoken.
Tina is not quite the quiet type we see on screen as Kala. She is actually very lively and has a quick wit.

This was the end of the official part of the first day of Sense8Con2. A group of fans went out to get some dinner. The smaller group I went with ended up having pizza, and a longer talk with Ursula about Sense8 and a lot of other stuff.
An that is the end of a very pleasant and fun first day of Sense8Con 2.
Sunday will be described in a later post.

Going to Sense8Con 2, an Introduction.

In the week end 30/31 March I was attending Sense8Con 2 in Paris.
This was my first travel more than 100km from my home, since I was diagnosed with colon cancer in late 2017, and had subsequent chemo therapy and an operation. It is gone now, and I just have to go to control visits. They keep an eye (or a CT scan) on you for about 10 years to check if it is really gone.
As many of you can imagine I am very happy to live in a country with universal health care.
I did have a ticket to the previous (first) Sense8Con last year, but had to stay home for the treatment, so now I take my “revenge” this year, going to several conventions and other stuff abroad.
Back to the travels:
When going to a week end convention like this one I usually want to do more than driving 1300km back and forth, so I arranged to visit 3 friends on the travel, one scifi friend in The Netherlands, an old colleague, also in the Netherlands, and another scifi friend in Cologne, Germany.

I have been in Paris before, so a general sight seeing session is not very necessary, but I decided to have a single day to visit a few of the Sense8 filming sites in Paris. The most famous one is, of course, hard to miss: The Eiffel Tower which I went to at the end of the day. I walked several hours, just taking some general photos, but Also seeing, from the outside, the center for the Arab world, and the nearby bridge, where filming was done, too.
At a later stage I want to visit more of the Sense8 filming sites, especially in Europe. On the way to Paris I decided, for time restriction reasons, to bypass the site in Belgium where the filming of The Lacuna was done. I will take that one, and probably the Dutch filming sites later, as I have connections in The Netherlands.

All in all I was driving just under 3000km (2000 miles), but it was definitely worth it.

The show itself is created by the Wachowskis and J. Michael Straczynski (JMS) who co-wrote all episodes with the exception of the season 2 finale which, for now is the final episode.

While JMS was heavily involved in the scriptwriting he was not so heavily involved in the production as such. That task was mainly done by Lana Wachowski who did a stellar job in the filming of the show.

Now for the convention:
The guests for the convention were 2 sensates and 3 supporting characters:
Brian J. Smith (Will)
Tina Desai (Kala)
Erendira Ybarra (Daniela)
Michael Sommers (Bug)
Sandra Fish (Janet – Nomi’s mother)
Friday evening, after walking through the streets of Paris, I made the registration for the con, but did not meet too many fans yet.

There were panels (Q&A), autograph sessions, photo sessions and meet&greet sessions. I did not do meet&greet sessions this time, but I just might do that next year (to be decided).

  • and, of course 2-300 of the Sense8 fanmily (spelling intentional)

Next post is expected to cover day one (Saturday) of the conventions. Let us just say: Many meetings.

Watched and Read in February.

Not too much this month, but still:
Watched:
Kingdom Season 1
MarvelInhumans S1: – 8 episodes

Continued (just a few episodes) :
Magicians S4 – weekly episodes
RoswellNewMexico – weekly episodes
StarTrekDiscoveryS2 – weekly episodes
Supergirl – weekly episodes
BlackLightning – weekly episodes.

With a friend, just a few episodes :
Highlander Season 2
Jeremiah Season 2
Kingdom (first episode)
BerlinStation

Read:
N.K. Jemisin : The Obelisk Gate (Book 2 of Broken Earth trilogy)

New : Watched and Read, January 2019

I am going to try something new on the blog :

Making a few notes on what I have watched, read and/or listened to, month by month, mostly with personal ratings.

There is the possibility of making separate posts about particular seasons or books.

Here is my list of genre related activities for January, 2019 :

Finished seasons :
Chronicles of Shannara Seasons 1 and 2 (7/10)
Into The BadlandsTV (seasons 1-3) (7/10)
Riverdale S1 (7/10)
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina S1 (including xmas special) (8/10)
Titans S1 (7/10)
The Flash S4 (8/10)
Arrow S3 (re-watch) (7/10)
MarvelRunaways S1 (7/10)
ThePunisher Season 2 (7/10)
Black Lightning Season 2. I realized it continued in February, so deduct it here and I will add it to Watching in Progress

Watching in progress :
StarTrek Discovery S2 1 ep per week
Roswell New Mexico in progress one ep per week

Magicians S4 – weekly episodes

Black Lightning Season 2

Watched with friends :
Highlander S2 in progress (re-watch for me)
Jeremiah S1 in progress (re-watch for me)
Pine Gap S1 (8/10)
Berlin Station (in progress)

 

Reading :
Book 1 of the Broken Earth trilogy by N.K.Jemesin
“The Fifth Season”

 

13 seasons of TV finished, some long, some intermediate, and several short ones in one month, as well as a novel. Quite a bit, but I expect February to have a little less genre activity, due to other activities taking over.

 

Straczynski “Twilight Zone” Comic

In the latest comics bundle from Humble Bundle From Dynamite Entertainment I found “The Twilight Zone, Vol 1” written by JMS.
That was the main reason to purchase the bundle because I do not have that one in any form.
Many other comics are in the bundle, downloadable after purchase from Humble Bundle. The main advantage to me using this bundle is that H.B. releases their files without any DRM “protection”, so it can be transferred to any of my devices capable of reading their formats.

Stuff From The Joe Store

A few weeks ago I ordered some stuff from Straczynski’s collection. Today the package arrived. It took a little while because the web store was overloaded when it went online. This is not an unknown occurrence when something new is announced from JMS (Straczynski).

I ordered a few items, and some bonus items were added :

All of Dream Police (comics)
All of Apocalypse Al (comics)
Book : Tales From the Twilight Zone
Book : Demon Night (Vampire story)
Set of fridge magnets
B5 note book
Bonus : Shooting script : Sleeping in Light
Psi Corps ID card
B5 Starfury Qualification card
B5 Bookmark w/Season 4 intro text
Joe’s Comics bookmark
Joe’s Comics Badge

Nice bonus collection

The Shooting script is a neat thing to have signed if I get to Fedcon in 2019. Bruce Boxleitner and Mira Furlan have been announced as guests there, and both of them deliver stellar performances in that final episode of Babylon 5.

The Psi Corps ID card goes nicely with my Fan Club Psi Corps badge when going to conventions.

Babylon 5 20th Anniversary, Not the Book

A few years ago I was able to pick up the B5 20th Anniversary book at Phoenix Comicon, in 2013. The book is since then out of print, and will not be available again.

However, a multimedia edition is now available from B5Books.

Today (PST, I think) is the last day to purchase at the reduced price of $37. Tomorrow the fast response price will be the double.

If you have discovered Babylon 5 since the book went out of print, or you missed the print book for whichever reason, here is an opportunity to get the material in electronic form.

On top of that, there is some additional video material in the multimedia edition.

If you want to get it, you can go to

b5books.com and order.

Disclaimer : I am not affiliated with B5Books, but I have been a happy customer to many of their releases.

Have fun !